The Best Dystopian Books for Teens

For some of us, reading is more than just a form of entertainment—it's also a way to get away from the often mundane problems of regular life and transport ourselves to the worlds unseen.

If you're the type of person who likes to escape reality by diving deep into the pages of a book, get ready to get whisked away into worlds you might just be thankful not to live in with these dystopian books for teens.


Let's start off with a list of dystopian books that have been turned into movies. Whether you've already seen the film or you're waiting until you finish the book first, you can compare the author's world to the director's with these dystopian books for teens:

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host Stehenie Meyer book cover

(The Host via Little, Brown & Company)


Also read about: 7 Reasons You Should Start Reading More


Modern Favorites

Once you've worked your way through those (or not—feel free to start anywhere on this list if one title catches your eye over another), feast your eyes on these dystopian books for teens:

  • Uglies by Scott Westerfield
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Legend by Marie Lu

Legend Marie Lu book cover

(Legend via Penguin Books)


Also read about: Read These 5 Amazing Books to Learn More About Feminism


Dystopian Classics

There are also a few classics when it comes to dystopian fiction for teens. You might end up having to read them for class at some point, but these titles still deserve a read for their thought-provoking nature (and hey, you just might do extra well on your pop quizzes in English class):

  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver Lois Lowry book cover

(The Giver via HarperCollins)


No matter which book you start with, all these teen-friendly Young Adult dystopian novels are filled to the brim with plenty of highly-developed characters, intense challenges to be overcome and, in most cases, even a bit of romance to round it all out.

If you're not really sure yet what kind of book you want to dive into just yet, we can help you out. Click HERE for 21 iconic book series for every type of teen reader.